Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mephistos, More, Enough, Wisdom & Folly - A Jewish (Cobbled) Tail (With A Bite)

Mephistos, More, Enough, Wisdom & Folly
A Jewish (Cobbled) Tail (With A Bite)

(My first pair of Mephistos shoes bought in 1973 – soled and resoled – 3 times – finally died today -a tear in the leather- at the age of 38. There was nothing MORE I could do. Another sole is lost. I feel like a ‘heel.’ Nothing is permanent.)

I bought MORE field hands and house slaves, MORE stewards and maids, MORE cattle and sheet than anyone who lived before me. I hoarded coins both silver and gold, raided the treasure houses of kings, and stripped caravans of their precious cargo. I filled my homes with singers and musicians. I piled crate upon crate stuffed with the most prized luxuries. I grew wealthier than any of my predecessors in Jersusalem and yet none of this satisfied me, nothing but wisdom alone
Ecclesiastes 2:6-9 Rabbi Remi Shapiro Translation
Fonts by Schwartz

I bought slaves – male and female – and I acquired stewards; I also owned MORE possessions, both cattle and sheep, than all of my predecessors in Jerusalem; I amassed even silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and the provinces; I provided myself with various musical instruments, and with every human luxury – chest and chests of them. Thus I grew and surpassed any of my predecessors in Jerusalem; still, my wisdom stayed with me.
Ecclesiastes 2:7-10 Stone Edition Tanach (Orthodox)
Font by Schwartz

I bought male and female slaves, and I acquired stewards. I also acquired MORE cattle, both herds and flocks, than all who were before me in Jerusalem. I further amassed silver and gold and treasures of kinds and provinces; and I got myself male and female singers, as well as the luxuries of commoners- coffers and coffers of them. Thus, I gained more wealth than anyone before me in Jerusalem. In addition, my wisdom remained with me
Ecclesiastes 2:7-9 JPS Tanakh (Conservative Judaism)
Font by Schwartz

And here this writer use to mock The Rabbi Establishment with ‘where there is a Rabbinic will there’s a halacha (legal) way’ when the above ‘renderings’ are at best interpretative translations rather than literal translations. At a minimum, these interpretative translations should have a Judaic Warning label ‘Translation May Be Hazardous To Your Conclusions.”

The above stipulated, there is a common thread between these interpretive translations: that wisdom is preferable to MORE MORE MORE.
But even the wisdom balloon bursts with:

• If the fool’s fate is the same as mine, has wisdom any lasting advantage? And I concluded that wisdom, too, is empty (Ecclesiastes 2:15, Shapiro)
• So I realized: “The fate of the fool is also destined for me; to what advantage, then, have I been wise?” And I came to the conclusion that that (wisdom) too was futile” (Ecclesiastes JPS 2-15)
• So I said to myself: The fate of the fool will befall me also; to what advantage, then, have I become wise? But I concluded that this, too, was futility. (Ecclesiastes Stone Edition Tanach 2:15)

But neither MORE, the folly of ignorance is bliss, nor wisdom can overcome the ephemeral, impermanence, the emptying (hevel)!

In the end both wise and foolish are forgotten
The death of one is identical to that of the other
Ecclesiastes 2:16

Thus, when the game is over, the king, pawn, the wise, the foolish all go in the same box.

Is it any wonder most (99%+ see self interest past entry) have continued to seek t MORE MORE MORE better now financially (despite denials to appear selfless) and or continue to pursue MORE MORE MORE better now in other currencies (awards, knowledge, wisdom etc) despite MORE MORE MORE yielding in time LESS, WORSE & LATER foolishly repeated. Why – it is what we know, and this hardwiring is culturally reinforced by ‘hope & the pursuit of happiness’ which palliates the delusion or hole in the soul. MORE as Enough merely reminds of the impermanence – hevel of all including wisdom and folly – which at least initially depresses with in the face reality of ‘what next if not MORE MORE MORE?

Continuity, certainty, permanence is futile.
But this life – futile – no it’s a matter of accepting the ephemeral with equanimity (rising above the good and the bad) while holding to the faith that this life is a soul curriculum exercise for character development to merit to a-gain for again.

In the interim, if lucky, we are blessed with dogs -Ambassadors from God, Chaverim (friends) of The Soul- during midterms and finals easing the ephemeral, the impermanent, and the uncertain

Well, ‘enough’ of this‘sole-ful’ rendering. Like the physical demise of my 38 year old Mephistos – that’s shoe business – a hit today, tomorrow in the recycle bin.

I give you good leather, it’s up to you to make good shoes

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